Why do you want a website?
It’s the first question we ask all our potential clients at the very first meeting, and one that’s often met with a look of confusion and the odd raised eyebrow.
Over the years, we’ve collectively seen, heard of and dealt with countless businesses that got themselves online purely as some kind of box-ticking exercise, much like they would get business cards printed and a nice sign for above the door. More often than not, 12 months or so later, these sites are left abandoned, out of date and generally unloved because their owners:
- Found the site too difficult to update themselves
- Were tied into an expensive contract
- Had unrealistic expectations about their website
- Weren’t given adequate briefing about how to make a business successful online
However, arming yourself with a few key facts and details before committing to a new website project could make the difference between getting a website that delivers nothing, and one that offers a genuinely profitable return on your investment.
So…Why DO you want a website?
It could be that you’re looking for better local exposure or to generate online sales or bookings, but either way we, as web designers, need to know what you want your website to achieve so that every aspect of the planning, research, wireframe designs and content can be focused exactly around making this happen.
A few other things you should consider are:
Who do you want visit your website, once it’s built?
Who are your customers? How do you plan to attract the right type of people (i.e. those that are likely to buy from you) to your website?
Internet traffic generally comes in via one of the following ways:
- Direct – by typing your website’s address (URL) straight into the address bar of their browser.
- Referral – by clicking a link from elsewhere on the web that points to your website (including blogs, forums or social media sites).
- Search – by searching for something online via Google or Bing etc and landing at your site.
What do you want them to do when they get there?
Whatever you want them to do, your site needs to have clear, concise calls to action to channel your audience in the direction that makes you money.
Some of the most common website goals and examples of a relevant call to action would include:
- Buy something – “Add to Basket”
- Send you their contact details – “Enquire Now”
- Obtain a brochure/pdf – “Download PDF”
Depending on whether you want people to buy something, send you an enquiry or download a PDF brochure, the marketing messages, designs and ways to measure success will almost certainly all differ.
Who will update and maintain the content on your website?
Good quality, well written fresh content is crucial in attracting both search engines and users to your site. Google’s crawl algorithms are now so powerful that new content from quality, trusted websites can appear in its index within minutes of being published on the web. Keeping the content on your website relevant and up to date can make a huge difference when trying to attract good quality traffic.
Determining early whether you, as a business owner, are likely to have the time to manage your website, or whether you’d be better delegating it to a colleague or outsourcing it entirely will help
Does your site need to work well on mobile devices, like iPads or smartphones?
If your business relies on local people being able to find you, such as a restaurant or shop, having a website that loads quickly and displays well on mobile devices is vital – and doesn’t have to cost the earth, if well planned for.